As you gather background information about your topic, your research question may change and that’s okay. Background information should inform you of what’s already known about your topic so that you can ask questions that truly require research to answer. Sometimes background information can be called “reference information.” In fact, there’s a whole section of Norlin Library that has reference materials.
One place you can start is Wikipedia, but be sure to check other sources including library subscription encyclopedias (see links in the "Reference Databases" box). You can use Wikipedia to:
Books often contain general overviews of a topic. Search OneSearch or Chinook to find books on your topic.
Find a book that is related to your topic, then use it's Subject Headings to search for similar books. Reference books often have Subject Headings that include terms like Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Characters, Biographies, Bibliographies, etc.
|Latin American literature -- Dictionaries|
|Portuguese language -- Glossaries, vocabularies, etc|
|Authors, Latin American -- Biography -- Dictionaries|
|Theater -- Latin America -- Dictionaries|
|Literary criticism -- European -- Spanish & Portuguese.|
Consider the scope of your research question at this point. Have you done enough background research to explore your topic further? What dates, figures, themes, or historical events do you still need to know about?
Before going onto the next step, consider how much research it will take to answer your question. If it's a lot, you might want to narrow your focus. If, however, your question is very specific, you may have to think bigger.